Lake Elsinore Creation Myth
We are to wet over the boat rim into the water.
They hold their things in the air and water from inside them
arches through the sky to the lake of water. My sister and I
put our bottoms out. We can’t see our wet arching
The Indians call God Chinigchinich, so funny
we crack up laughing. To think the World began
with twin brothers, Mukat and TemayaWet
who turns into a woman. That’s when the fighting begins
and something happens. Maybe Daddy’s fingers
when I squat out over Lake Elsinore
and he threatens again to drown me
Wet was our verb. Mama I have to wet. We didn’t know
this water was the origin of the World.
We didn’t know TemayaWet, but we knew Cain and Abel
Once upon a time at the beginning of the world
they were in a little white row boat, three children
and the father, when something happened, everything
gone but the terror. Their father’s best friend Dee
rowed the boat behind them with his two girls
JoDee and JuDee. Maybe
they almost capsized. Sex
is what happened, our nasty parts
holy, our mother lectured, if with your husband
glorious, our God-made parts
as we rowed
what our brother had to hold
we sisters had to wipe
Through the years Lake Elsinore dried up
all our wet disappeared our bare bottoms out
to the mud bottom
The Indians believed in the good and bad brothers too
born from this manmade hole
named for a great writer who wrote of a man
who killed his uncle for killing his father and marrying his mother
somewhere in the old country. If only
he could have solved the riddle
of his jealousy. Poor guy, his too big heart
What was their name for Lake Elsinore, Mama?
Something rotting, she said
One day, the First People, who were the animals, mountains, trees and weather
stopped by a pond to swim and rest.
Among them was Red-legged Frog, Wahawut,
a woman with big eyes and nice shoulders.
When the other People jumped into the water, she sat still on the bank
with her glossy long hair falling all the way over her hips.
Wiyot couldn’t take his eyes off her. He was all swelled up.
Wahawut noticed his condition
and leaped into the water with her long, shapely legs.
Her hair flew up and Wiyot saw
her thin, boney frog back and hips
Instantly his desire turned to disgust.
So she grew angry, bringing death into the world.[i]
Suddenly at my mother’s breast I’m
on my grandmother’s knee
in a row boat with my brother, sister and father.
Something happens. Our mother
takes the picture
[i]Sacred Sites, The Secret History of Southern California, Susan Suntree, University of Nebraska Press, 2010, p. 151-165.
Sharon Doubiago's latest poetry publications are TheVisit, a booklength poem, Wild Ocean Press, 2015, I, Poet, Omerta Publications, lesgottesman.com, 2016, and Love on The Streets, University of Pittsburgh, 2009. Her memoir My Father's Love, Portrait of the Poet as a Girl, Volume 1, and Portrait of the Poet as a Woman, Volume 2, is out from Wild Ocean Press.
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